The State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT), Nagaland today signed a Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) with St Joseph University, Chümoukedima for collaboration on school counselling, according to the DIPR. The event was held at SCERT, Kohima.
Providing a brief introduction to the SCERT school counselling program, Kevirale-ü Kerhuo, Director, SCERT, mentioned that a Diploma course was introduced for the first time in the year 2018, making Nagaland the first SCERT in India to introduce a Diploma in School Counselling. Further, the duration of the course was extended from 6 months to 9 (nine) months and finally to one year through a State Cabinet approval this year.
The primary objective of the course is to train teachers and to provide professionally trained School Counsellors to ensure that there are at least one male and one female trained School Counsellors available in every government school in Nagaland, highlighted Kerhuo.
“With the enhancement of the duration of the Diploma course, the SCERT is in the process of reviewing the existing curriculum and development of a new syllabus. The SCERT Nagaland is trying to integrate the Naga Indigenous Methods and Techniques of dealing with the modern world of complexities, stress and anxieties in the present day living,” stated Kerhuo.
She also stressed on the need to make counselling an integral part of the school curriculum which will help every student in development and will enhance their academic performances.
The School Counselling Cell, SCERT has already trained 105 teachers as school counsellors. A new batch of diploma course will be launched which will help in providing more trained School Counsellors to Government schools in the days to come. The Director thanked the St. Joseph’s University, for their efforts and hoped that the MoU would help in professionalising school counselling in the State and that it would be able to provide a better quality of training through collaboration with the University.
“School counselling is essential as it addresses the social, emotional, and academic needs of students, leading to a holistic approach to overall student success. School counsellors help students with academic planning, goal setting, and study skills. They also provide academic support and guidance about post-secondary education options, including college, technical schools, and vocational training,” said Dr. D. Gnanadurai, Vice Chancellor, St. Joseph University Chümoukedima.
The significance of counsellors in schools today was also emphasized by the Vice Chancellor who pointed out that Counsellors provide mental health support to students, promoting healthy social, emotional, and psychological development. “They help students build positive relationships, develop coping mechanisms, and manage their emotions. Counsellors also help students discover their talents, strengths, and interests, guiding them through career exploration and development. School counselors also provide support and guidance to students who are dealing with personal crises such as mental health issues, family problems, or substance abuse. The Counsellors, in such situations work with students, families, and teachers to develop effective solutions and strategies,” stressed Dr. D. Gnanadurai.
Dr. Watinaro Longkumer, HoD, Department of Psychology, St. Joseph University mentioned that the collaboration between the Department and the University is a welcoming step towards strengthening the two institutions through exchange of knowledge and information. “Such collaboration will help provide training for School Counsellors: Universities can offer training and workshops to SCERT professionals regarding counselling, which helps enhance their skills and knowledge. This training can also help in maintaining the consistency of counselling practices,” said Dr. Longkumer.
The collaboration can facilitate mental health first aid training and awareness programs to make counselling as accessible as possible, and further enable better delivery of counselling services to school communities.
The partnership will provide assistance in counsellor training, materials development, sustainable and ongoing quality delivery of counselling services to children, adolescents, and families.
The program was chaired by Dr. Zavise Rume, Professor and Head, Guidance & Counseling Cell, and Medemmongla Jamir Reader, SCERT, presented the concluding remarks, which was followed by the signing of the MoU between the Department and the University.